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The Voluntaryist[edit]

"The Voluntaryist' was apparently a periodical. I am going to put its "Statement of Purpose" in the article. Hogeye 21:32, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

This Could Be Made Into A Great Article, But Currently Needs Some Work[edit]

If I find the time, I'll try to remember to improve this article. Voluntaryism is discussed some in Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement. It could be a useful source. Allixpeeke (talk) 22:45, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

This article could truly need some work. Maybe I'll get the time to do it but don't count on it.Lord Metroid (talk) 17:36, 9 December 2007 (UTC)
Cleanup done, expansion still needed. Lord Metroid (talk) 13:23, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
Expansion done, although now a little clean-up may again be in order. Allixpeeke (talk) 22:05, 16 December 2007 (UTC)
I did a little bit of cleanup and tried to get rid of some of the bias/original research. Tisane (talk) 09:05, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Deleting Voluntarism (Politics) Page and Redirecting to Voluntaryism BIG POV Problem[edit]

LATER NOTE, originally repeated below, to clarify for future readers: My Apologies for Confusion!! First, because of recent changes on the disambiguation page, I got confused and thought that this WAS the original voluntarism article until was RE-named voluntaryism just a couple weeks ago.
Carol Moore 03:43, 22 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

I'm a libertarian which makes it particularly annoying to see people who may be some sort of libertarians obviously destroy an existing article formerly called Voluntarism (politics) which doubtless mentioned several of the broader political uses of the word "voluntarism" (use search engine for some examples):

Voluntarism disambiguation page shows relevant changes on these dates by these individuals:

  1. 09:08, December 14, 2007 Lordmetroid (Talk | contribs) (425 bytes) (undo)
  2. (cur) (last) 15:06, December 8, 2007 Allixpeeke (Talk | contribs) (430 bytes) (undo)

This NOW forwards the disambiguation ONLY to this sectarian view called "VOLUNTARYISM" as if that is the only way the word voluntarism is used in politics, which is false and misleading. I can't even find the old article and will ask for editorial assistance since don't have a lot of time to figure it out again.

If you know where the article is, please bring it back and make the Voluntarism page link to ALL THREE pages. Thanks! Carol Moore 00:59, 15 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

The Voluntaryism (politics) did not cover anything of substance that the older Voluntaryism article didn't already cover. Because of the great number of tags and notices and no one had taken upon himself to correct all these issues I boldy went ahead and merged the two articles which was got their material from the same source. I deemed the example section to be inappropriately essay-like and read-like advertisement which is according to wikipedia policy is not to be used so I refrained from such implementation in the merger. But there is no POV issue as far as I percieve it, could you further explain what you find inappropriate? Lord Metroid (talk) 01:49, 15 December 2007 (UTC)
First, do you know how I can find the text of the original VOLUNTARISM (POLITICS) article? This article I can see always was called voluntaryism.
Second, it may have been a poorly written article, but it probably reflected the fact that voluntarism is used in a number of ways that are NOT voluntaryism, and therefore should not have been merged or redirected here. Obviously having the exact original text would be helpful.
IF such text cannot be found, I guess I can VOLUNTEER (har har) to rewrite an article so that the disambiguation will go to all three defintions.
Carol Moore 04:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc
I linked all older article versions in my previous reply. What do you find is POVed? Lord Metroid (talk) 03:09, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, didn't recognize it as link to old article since looked like a link to current article til now looked at html. Will study and comment. Carol Moore 04:18, 15 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

If you are a Libertarian (or "libertarian"), then you should object to libertarians being mentioned on this page AT ALL. "Voluntaryism" is NOT libertarianism. As the page itself says, voluntaryism is closely related to anarchism. However, libertarianism is NOT anarchism. They are completely different philosophies. Those two statements at the beginning of this article are directly contradictory, and "libertarian" should be removed completely. -- Jane Q. Public (talk) 18:58, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

Kind of Info that belongs in separate "voluntarism" article[edit]

First this article on "voluntaryism" is describing a specific philosophy, i.e.: Voluntaryism is the philosophical belief that the only legitimate interactions in between and among people is done on a freely chosen basis through voluntary association and agreements. I have no problem with this philosophy having it's own article, just that it should NOT have replaced the "voluntarism" article which clearly did NOT reflect the various ways it is used below. Just the first page of a google search showed these different definitions and further searches probably would reveal more definitive sources. voluntarism: The use of or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end. 2. vol·un·ta·rism: The use of or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end.

Volunt/ar/eer/ism: What's the Difference? By Susan J. Ellis So many people ask me whether there is a distinction between "volunteerism" and "voluntarism" that I have written up my answer. Here it is: "Voluntarism" (the older term) refers to everything voluntary. In the United States this includes, for example, religion. It certainly encompasses the entire "voluntary sector," but "voluntary" in the "voluntarism" context means not mandated by law (as government is). Many voluntary sector (nonprofit) agencies have a volunteer board because that is a legal requirement, but may not utilize volunteers in direct service in any way. There are subjects within "voluntarism" that have nothing to do with volunteers: things like UBIT legislation; proposal writing; compensation law.

Voluntarism By Susan Perkins, Graduate Student, Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University. Definition "Voluntarism is the voluntary (acting of one's own accord) participation in a certain action, or a system based on this." Webster's Dictionary. NOTE: This is a long article with lots of examples that could form a good basis for wiki article

Center for Study of Philanthropy and Voluntarism

UNITED KINGDOM:VOLUNTARISM The British system of industrial relations has frequently been described as voluntarist, by which is usually meant the abstention of the state from direct intervention in the handling of industrial relations. ETC...

TWO BOOKS: 1) Landscapes of voluntarism, New spaces of health, welfare and governance, Edited by Christine Milligan and David Conradson

2) Liberalism: Voluntarism and Individuality in Political Theory, by Richard E. Flathman - 1992 - Philosophy - 232 pages

Carol MooreUser:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc —Preceding comment was added at 17:54, 15 December 2007 (UTC)

Which Should Be New Article?[edit]

So my question is which is to be done:

a) copy current version of voluntaryism into a NEW voluntaryism article and revert this one back to original voluntarism, which then would be changed to add this info and of course link to voluntaryism article?
b) leave this voluntaryism as is and just start whole new voluntarism article.

I'll do the work and put a basic article together and do the disambiguation. Just need opinion on which article should be the brand new one. Thanks. Carol Moore 18:43, 15 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

I see... There is an additional concept called voluntarism. What I think, would be best is to move this article to voluntaryism (politics) and create a voluntarism (concept) article for what you describe, reassign all inter-wiki links appropiatley and let this article redirect to voluntarism from which readers can find any kind of voluntar- article. This way the readers can easier find the particular topic they are searching for through the hub Voluntarism. Achieving a structured and easily navigated set of very similiar named articles. What do you think? Lord Metroid (talk) 03:55, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

If you look at the dictionary meanings of "voluntarism" there are two, one being any kind of voluntary action the other being the philosophical concept. I only included the political meanings above.

That fact was originally reflected correctly at the voluntarism disambiguation page below, which I think should be re-instated.

* Voluntarism (philosophy), a term coined for various philsophical positions by different philosophers, including Duns Scotus, Schopenhauer, Tönnies and Dingler.

* Voluntarism (politics), a term used in politics and economics which emphasises voluntary cooperation and natural law.

Voluntaryism is a spin off of voluntarism which says that ONLY voluntary political/economic action of any kind is legitimate. It's fine to have it's own page and all these changes made in last couple days debated there on their own merits.

But I correct myself and it should NOT be disambiguated off of voluntarism since it is not yet a dictionary recognized spin off of voluntarism so it easily could be considered WP:Original Research. However, the fact that voluntaryism is a spin off SHOULD be reflect in the voluntarism article.

And also thinking about it, the NEW article should be voluntaryism and this should revert back to the original one and I'll immediately revise it to broader meeting reflected in articles above - and we can tweak them once there are two articles. Carol Moore 20:37, 16 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

I do not really understand what you have in mind. You first say that Voluntaryism should have it's own article called Voluntaryism which is exactly the present case. Then you say you want this article to be reverted back, to what I do not know. I find reverting this article to be innapropiate because Voluntaryism in the political sense as shown by the referencing on this article has a relative long history. I think we can remake Voluntarism to an article about the concept voluntarism. And add a {{for}} tags at the top for both articles to redirect accidental lost readers. Lord Metroid (talk) 23:26, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

What is currently written on the voluntaryism page is correct for the specific political ideology known as voluntaryism and finding its roots in the anarchistic writings of Auberon Herbert. Ms. Moore, if you wish to write an article on the general ideal of voluntarism (concept), this is fine—I doubt anyone would object. If you want to make reference, in that article, to both voluntarism (philosophy) and to voluntaryism (politics), that is also definitely find—and again, I doubt anyone would have any objection. Finally, if you wish for all three of these to appear on the voluntarism (disambiguation) page, all the more power to you. In fact, I would say that your doing so would be a win-win for all of us. :)

Allixpeeke (talk) 23:57, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually, I just went ahead and updated the disambiguation page in a manner I expect will be to everyone's liking. :) Allixpeeke (talk) 00:20, 18 December 2007 (UTC) P.S. I also added the libertarian and anarchism templates to this page for what I suspect are obvious reasons. :)

The reasons are not obvious. Anarchism and libertarianism are not the same things. They have been inappropriately compared (or conflated) on this page. -- Jane Q. Public (talk) 19:03, 10 July 2013 (UTC)

The problem is that voluntarism is not just a concept but a form of action or practice. Defined above as: The use of or reliance on voluntary action to maintain an institution, carry out a policy, or achieve an end. It's sort of a less ideological version of voluntaryism, which is really more an ideology than politics. It's sort of like panarchy and panarchism, where the first was a word defined differently by several people and the second was a specific philosophy based on one definition.

If you look at Voluntarism By Susan Perkins, she talks about very specific historical actors: Squanto, William Penn, Cotton Mather, Benjamin Franklin, Alexis de Tocqueville, Underground Railroad, Civil War volunatarism, Dorthea Dix, Clara Barton, Jane Addams, Peace Corps, and existing networks.

I'll go ahead and write it but properly defined and then someone else, maybe an administrator at some point, can fix the appropriate page names/disambiguation. Carol Moore 01:09, 18 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

I don't want it to seem like I'm making any impositions upon you. Do you think voluntarism (tendency) would be better than voluntarism (concept)? Or perhaps you have something better in mind? I don't believe I've ever seen a category with a parenthetical "tendency" or "practice", but then I don't know, in full, what you are planning for the new entry, so perhaps it will work. The only other concern I would have is: do we need an entry for both a concept (e.g. panarchy) and the ideology that advocates it (e.g. panarchism)? Apparently I'm not the only person who has thought this, as is evidence by the suggestion here that panarchy and panarchism be merged. But I'm flexible, and if there is enough difference between the tendency toward voluntarism and the political philosophy of voluntaryism, then it would surely be a welcome addition. Allixpeeke (talk) 03:33, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

First Wikipedia:Disambiguation is flexible, but I don't think you get the point. DICTIONARY meaning has Voluntarism as a philosophy and a mode of political action. The original disambiguation called it politics. Voluntaryism is an ideological spin off of voluntarism, which should be noted in the article.

Therefore disambiguation page should read

Voluntarism can refer to:
See also
  • Volunteerism, the willingness of people to work on behalf of others without the expectation of pay or other tangible gain.
  • Voluntaryism, a philosophical belief that the only legitimate interactions between and among people are done on a freely chosen basis through voluntary association and agreement. (NOTE: the actual definition on the page. CM)

Carol Moore 15:48, 18 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

PS on Panarchy/Panarchism: Please read the debate on both TALK pages. I actually just removed the merge suggestion since discussion went dead a couple months ago with more opposition to moving than support. Panarchy is a word that has evolved several somewhat different meanings. The original meaning has developed into separate philosophy of panarchism. The problem with merging them is that people who do NOT like the anarchistic definition will come in and mess with or delete panarchism. See history of fights about it. So best to leave it relatively unmolested in its own article. Carol Moore 16:07, 18 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

Whereas voluntaryism is a clearly political ideology, voluntarism sounds, honestly, rather non-political. Maintenance of institutions is not inherently political, for example. Neither is the carrying out of a policy or the achieving of an end. Respectfully,
Alex Peak
Allixpeeke (talk) 22:16, 18 December 2007 (UTC)

My Apologies for Confusion!! First, because of recent changes on the disambiguation page, I got confused and thought that this WAS the original voluntarism article until was RE-named voluntaryism just a couple weeks ago. (See my message above Deleting Voluntarism (Politics) Page and Redirecting to Voluntaryism BIG POV Problem.) The responders did not understand my confusion. My apologies!!
Voluntarism broadly defined is political - as is voluntaryism - but I won't debate what to call them right now. Just put something on talk page about the debate and let's see what others who come along in the future have to say!
User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc —Preceding comment was added at 02:40, 19 December 2007 (UTC)

Voluntarism article is up[edit]

FYI Voluntarism. Probably will do some more work on in a few days; first draft. Carol Moore 22:35, 23 December 2007 (UTC)User:Carolmooredc User talk:Carolmooredc

Cool, everything worked out all right and the new article looks very promising. Lord Metroid (talk) 23:35, 23 December 2007 (UTC)

Watner's New Article Up[edit]

I've placed Voluntaryist Carl Watner's new article on the main page. Minor edits are welcome, particularly the insertion of internal links.Psdillard (talk) 21:07, 25 March 2008 (UTC)

Rewrite tag placed[edit]

I stumbled across this article from the Libertarian Party, and was interested in the subject, but the article as it stands is decidedly un-Wikipedian. The rewrite cleanup tag seemed most relevant according to the cleanup rules, although significant reorganization and wikification would be sufficient. Evan Deaubl (talk) 22:21, 11 April 2008 (UTC)


Evan Deaubl,

The new article is not from the Libertarian Party but by Carl Watner, a notable voluntaryist who opposes the LP and any other political organization.

Please describe what sort of reorganization and "wikification" you think the article needs. I will then direct Mr. Watner to your comments, and we can proceed from there.

Thank you for your feedback.

Psdillard (talk) 00:22, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

I actually didn't have any suggestions offhand, and I wasn't indicating that the article was related to the LP in any way; that is just how I ended up getting to this page (I just realized my previous statement was unclear; I got here from the Libertarian Party page on Wikipedia, not from an LP site). My understanding is that putting a cleanup tag on a page "puts it on the radar" as a page that people who are interested in cleaning up Wikipedia can (and should) work on. So my main motivation for adding the tag was to get the page noticed in order to hopefully bring some more experienced Wikipedia editors into the mix. I'm nowhere near experienced enough to tackle an article of this size. :-) Evan Deaubl (talk) 02:08, 12 April 2008 (UTC)

Copyright infringement[edit]

I would just like to point out that User:Psdillard, apart from editing disruptively, has been copying and pasting text from here. I hope that next time his edits will be reverted sooner. --Cambrasa confab 18:45, 30 April 2008 (UTC)

Turned out it was just a case of accidental page blanking by someone who knows the copyright holder - sorry --Cambrasa confab 13:59, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

No copyright infringement[edit]

Cambrasa is absolutely wrong on both counts. The text I copied and pasted was not taken without permission from The Voluntaryist website. Rather, it is a new article by Carl Watner that he asked me to post. Cambrasa would know that if he/she had taken the time to read and understand the discussion page.

Nor have I edited disruptively. I proposed replacing the old voluntaryist article with Mr. Watner's new one and allowed plenty of time for comments before I did so. I even e-mailed all of the previous commentators asking for their feedback. When no one objected, I went ahead and posted Watner's new article. A disruptive person subsequently reverted it to the old article, which I reverted back to the new article. When I did so, I made the mistake of first deleting the old article entirely in the hopes that the new article would then come up automatically. I have since learned that one should merge edits into the article to be edited.

I resent your accusations, Cambrasa. I see that you are responsible for restoring the old article. Shame on you for not first bringing your concerns to the discussion page and talking about them before you reverted. I'll be restoring Watner's article. Leave it alone.Psdillard (talk) 16:33, 1 May 2008 (UTC)

Ok, cool down, it's not that big of a deal. First I saw that you had blanked the page. Then I saw that your text had some neutrality issues, which I will address below. Then I saw that it had been copied and pasted from a website. Then I briefly skimmed over the talk page, where you didn't make it very clear that you had Carl Watner's permission. So I assumed some disruptive editing was going on, which obviously wasn't the case. It's just a misunderstanding, so my apologies. --Cambrasa confab 13:56, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

I accept your apology, Cambrasa. Thank you.

I'm sorry I didn't make it clearer earlier that I had Carl Watner's position to post the article. Below is a statement from Mr. Watner that should clarify the situation.

"To Whom It May Concern:

Peter Spotswood Dillard has posted, at my request, my article on "Voluntaryism" to wikipedia. It was intended to supercede a shorter article by others, which was incomplete and in some respects misleading. He has my full support in maintaining and posting the article I have written. I believe my own article is more encompassing and answers objections which were not addressed in the prior article.


Carl Watner" —Preceding unsigned comment added by Psdillard (talkcontribs) 15:14, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

New article by Carl Watner: Serious neutrality issues[edit]

Peter Dillard has replaced the old article with an essay written by Carl Watner, on his instruction. Carl Watner seems to be a notable proponent of voluntaryism, so that in itself is not a problem.

However, there are several problems with the article as it stands now:

1:A lot of it seems to be original research. Even though Carl Watner is a notable academic, this essay has only been published on his website and not in a peer-reviewed journal, so it is not a reliable source. Also, since this article is now primarily based on Carl Watner's essay, it violates point 7 on Wikipedia's policy for self-published sources. Finally, many parts of this article arrive at conclusions through synthesis rather than stating where the conclusions came from, violanting WP:SYN.

2:The article is written in a horribly biased tone. It reads more like a manifesto than an encyclopedia article. It is full of emotive vocabulary - "X is evil", instructional and presumptious language - "Do the poor have a right to alms?", hyperboles - "Voluntarism represents a means, and end, and an insight", and value judgements - "... whereupon [government] will fall of its own dead weight". All that it's missing is a "long live voluntrayism!" at the end.

The worst thing about this article is that it presents several contentious claims as if they were widely accepted facts, without citing sources - "History and theory demonstrate that a free people produce many more goods and services than their counterparts in a centrally organized economy. Thus, there is more to go around in a free society, and the poor there generally have a higher standard of living than the poor in a collectivist society". Note: This article does not say "According to voluntaryists, history and theory demostrate...". It just says "History and theory demostrate..." even though there are plenty of theorists, economists and historians more notable than Carl Watner who would contest this claim.

3:The article casts voluntaryism and voluntaryists in a very positive light. Since Carl Watner seems to be one of the key proponents of voluntaryism, this raises conflict of interest concerns.

--Cambrasa confab 16:44, 2 May 2008 (UTC)


  • I think that the article is unacceptable in its current form. Yes, it may be written by an expert, and it may contain more legitimate information than before, but this information is presented in such a biased manner that it is actually worse than the previous article. I suggest reverting it to the old version with immediate effect, and taking the current version to a sandbox, where it should go through a major re-work before being reinserted. --Cambrasa confab 15:51, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Minor Editing? Maybe. Reverting and/or Major Editing? No.[edit]

I strongly disagree with Cambrasa that there are problems with Watner's article which justify "reverting it to the old version with immediate effect." Nor do I think Watner's article should be taken to the sandbox and subjected to a major "rework before being reinserted." The problems Cambrasa raises can be addressed without imposing such drastic measures.

I will address Cambrasa's specific criticisms:

(1) I do not see how Watner's article violates point 7 of Wikipedia's policy for self-published sources. Plenty of reliable, peer-reviewed sources are cited at the end of the article. Nor do I see how the articles arrives at its conclusions through "synthesis." On the contrary, Watner argues for his conclusions from initial premises that he makes explicit. He even addresses possible objections to voluntaryism.

Exactly. Watner argues for his conclusions. That is the problem. Wikipedia is not a place for arguing. Wikipedia is only a compendium or arguments that have been made in reliable sources. Please read WP:SYN again. --Cambrasa confab 01:13, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

(2) Concerning the charge that the article is written in "a horribly biased tone," to the extent that there may be some bias in the article it can be removed through minor rephrasing. Cambrasa even suggests how this might be done for some cases by prefacing categorical assertions with the clause, "According to voluntaryists..." Or "Do the poor have a right to alms?" might be replaced with "Voluntaryists question whether the poor even have a right to alms." In other cases, some of the rhetoric might be toned down a bit. However, these slight changes do not require the extreme approach Cambrasa proposes.

The problem is that this article is very long and consistently biased. When you have to make a "minor rephrasing" to every second sentence it does amount to a major re-write. This article is going to sit around in this form for God knows how long before somebody can be bothered to fix it - probably weeks or months. Psdillard has certainly expressed no desire to make the needed changes - why should he? The copied-and-pasted version serves his purposes, and creating an encyclopedia does not seem to be one of them. In the mean time thousands of people are going to read it, and by the time it's finally fixed the damage will arleady be done.--Cambrasa confab 01:13, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

(3) By Cambrasa's reasoning, a Hindu should not write an Wikipedia article on any aspect of Hinduism or provide a possible rationale for any Hindu belief because doing so creates a conflict of interest. Or an article casting the theory of special relativity in a positive light should immediately be sent to the sandbox and subjected to a major "rework" (or at least be tagged as suspiciously non-neutral) if it is written by Einstein, a leading proponent of theory. Surely such a requirement is much too stringent. Proponents should be allowed to write articles about the views they hold as long as they provide reliable sources and give explicit reasons for their assertions. Watner does both. I'm confident that he would be willing to add additional peer-reviewed sources, including a few that defend an anti-voluntaryist position, were he asked to do so. But again, that only requires minor editing, not wholesale rewriting. And as I noted earlier, Watner not only gives explicit reasons for his conclusions, he also responds to possible objections. Not every conceivable objection need be met for an article to pass Wikipedia muster.

All the objections have been set up, and knocked down, by himself. Not exactly the best way to make an article more balanced. Watner does not cite sources where they are needed most, namely where he has written contentious assertions. Whole sections, especially in the beginning, are completely lacking in sources. If Watner can show us some stuff he has published in peer-reviewed sources, then great, but before he has done that: back to the Sandbox --Cambrasa confab 01:13, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

As I noted before, the old article was awkwardly written, and it skewed the account of voluntaryism by placing undue emphasis on the views of Auberon Herbert. Watner's new article avoids these pitfalls, provides an abundance of historical background, and gives the reader a clear idea of where the voluntaryist is coming from. The few infelicities Cambrasa perceives in the article can be easily rectified.Psdillard (talk) 22:24, 2 May 2008 (UTC)

Cambrasa, you're trying to make a mountain out of a molehill.

An encyclopedia entry can certainly present the arguments typically given for a position. How else is it going to inform the reader not only about the content of a position but also about its official rationale? If your worry is that Mr. Watner is arguing for voluntaryism, then as I said before he can easily amend his statements to the form: "Voluntaryists typically argue that..." Do you really think inserting these qualifiers requires so much work that Watner's article should be tossed into the sandbox and torn apart until it is reduced to something unrecognizable? Come on.

As for my "purposes," you don't know what you're talking about here. Let's avoid attributing personal agendas and stick to the issue of whether Watner's article needs to be subjected to a major rewrite while a plainly inferior piece is put back in its place.

And as I said before, it's easy for Watner to add a few more peer-reviewed sources, including some that criticize voluntaryism and similar anarchist views. And again, in presenting the objections he can easily tone it down by writing sentences along the lines of: "Sometimes it is objected to voluntaryism that..." and "To this objection, voluntaryists reply..." In these instances citations to articles in The Voluntaryist would be sufficient, since that's where many of the objections are considered and addressed by actual voluntaryists. Even if it is not a purely non-partisan scholarly journal, nevertheless it is a significant source for understanding the nature of the view under discussion. Some of the articles there have even been peer-reviewed, both by voluntaryists and by those opposed to voluntaryism.

I suggest that we give Mr. Watner the opportunity to make these minor edits by inserting them into the current version, not relegate his work to the sandbox and replace it with the old article (which has probably misled readers a lot more about the nature of voluntaryism). I'm not going to make the edits because it's not my article. However, I can help Watner as he makes them. If he decides that making these edits requires a substantial revision of the article, then he can let you take it to the sandbox.Psdillard (talk) 02:06, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

You don't really seem to understand the philosophy of Wikipedia. First you upload an article that makes a mockery of two of the five pillars. Then you claim it is an "improvement", and dismiss the blatant violations of Wikipedia policy as trivial. Then you say that you're not prepared to fix those allegedly minor issues because it's "Watner's article", not yours. Well of course people are going to question your motives.
You do realise that if you upload something to Wikipedia you agree to publish it under GFDL? I hope you have discussed this with the author. That means this is not "Watner's article" anymore. In other words, neither you nor Watner get to decide what happens to it. From now on the community decides. Of course both of you are welcome to join in, but patent policy breaches can and will be dealth with by anyone who chooses to do so. Anything that is controversial and unsourced may be deleted without warning and does not require previous consultation with the original authour.
Oh and there is one more thing I don't understand. If Mr.Watner is prepared to write a neutral version of this article, why not do it in the sandbox? What's the rush to get it published? Can't it wait another couple of weeks? --Cambrasa confab 05:26, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

I decided to add qualifying phrases and to change a few words to make the article more neutral. As I suspected, it wasn't difficult at all. Mr. Watner can review the revisions when he gets a chance and comment on them if he wishes. He can also add some more references where needed, including a few from works by those opposed to voluntaryism. I believe we can continue to make good progress by making additional minor edits like the ones I've mentioned. In my judgment, there is no need to send the article to the sandbox for wholesale revision.
Cambrasa, you're being a real pain. Rather than cooperate, you snipe away with snide comments and criticisms that I've already addressed. There's no "rush" to publish Watner's article. It's merely that your reasons for gutting it don't warrant doing so. At most, they warrant the sort of minor edits I made and that others are welcome to make as well. Stop being an obstructionist and start contributing something positive. Otherwise, go away. Psdillard (talk) 05:45, 3 May 2008 (UTC)
The additional edits Cambrasa has made are quite helpful, especially the insertion of internal links and indications of where citations are needed. Now that's more like it.Psdillard (talk) 14:49, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

Fixed the new version[edit]

Phew, I've fixed this monster now. Still needs some work, but I think in this form it finally deserves being called an "encylopedia article". I'll add a copyedit template because the references still need to be formatted. --Cambrasa confab 19:09, 3 May 2008 (UTC)

"Voluntaryism is a philosophy that holds that any form of invasion and coercion is morally objectionable and should be abandoned" - This is a poor definition. anything that is invasive and coercive? really? What about punishement of criminals? That's coercive. I doubt voluntaryists want to abandon punishment. I'll change the definition --Cambrasa confab 18:11, 4 May 2008 (UTC)

I've cleaned up a number of typos I found in the last revision. Also in that version, the last sentence in the section entitled "The practical perspective in the case of the United States" reads like a total non sequitur. (The sentence in question was "A study by The Economist has concluded that social mobility is low in America when compared to other rich nations, especially among the bottom fifth of society, and that meritocratic competition only takes places within elites rather than 'among the full range of talents that the country has to offer'".) Its relevance to the immediately foregoing material isn't made clear. Is it supposed to be another objection? A reference to a source offering an alternative to the voluntaryist viewpoint on the plight of the poor? Hence I have deleted both it and the accompanying reference to the study from The Economist. This material should be reincorporated into the article only if its rationale for being there is made perfectly clear.Psdillard (talk) 16:31, 5 May 2008 (UTC)

Merge with mainstream article?[edit]

I don't see any difference between voluntarism and mainstream philosophy. In fact, I'd go so far as to say if Wikipedia was polled on the issue, over 80% of respondents would identify with "voluntarism". EDIT -- check that: there's a lot more extremism here than I thought. Nevermind. Tcaudilllg (talk) 19:17, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

The danger of analogies...[edit]

"Voluntaryists might appeal to the following analogy: if a thief steals your watch, outlaws all other forms of telling time, tells you the time, and then demands that you pay him for providing you with this service, would you consider yourself obligated to pay him? Of course not."

Am I the only one who sees how easily that could be reworked into a scathing critique of the very capitalism this ideology espouses? Think about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:33, 31 August 2008 (UTC)

Go ahead and rework it into a scathing commentary of capitalism, because I don't see what your point is. EVCM (talk) 02:36, 2 September 2008 (UTC)
I think a lot of people don't understand how we can punish each other for bad behavior without being coercive. Consider how you would live if the grocery store refused to let you in, and if your employer suddenly decided not to pay you, and if the local rag outed you as a miscreant. I try to mete out punishments and rewards to people who help and harm me using similar strategies, such as the cold shoulder, the tongue lashing, and even what amounts to public humiliation only because my accurate (and loud) description of their behavior embarrasses them. These things are not coercive. If publication of misdeeds and a resulting widespread refusal of service were the standard punishment for behaving badly, I don't think any Libertarians would complain, and I think we'd all be a lot better off.
Under my ideal (which I think is pretty close to Voluntaryism), there is still no established coercive punishment for using coercion. If you happen to be coerced into something, there'd be no official coercive action against your violator. But you or your friends might retaliate coercively. I know that sometimes I can become angry enough to break my peaceful principles. Dscotese (talk) 02:36, 16 May 2010 (UTC)
Only the initiation of force is prohibited by the non-aggression principle; defensive, restitutive, or retaliatory force is not. So you're OK being non-peaceful in those situations.[1]


I am not 100% sure whether the Gandhi mentioned is Mohandas Gandhi, or perhaps S.I. Gandhi. Any RS for that?  — Xiutwel ♫☺♥♪ (speech has the power to bind the absolute) 18:28, 11 December 2008 (UTC)


The sentence at the top -- "Voluntaryists assert that people cannot be coerced into freedom or voluntarily give it up." is not clear (I'm a long standing Voluntaryist and I don't understand what is meant by this statement! -- and as noted by someone else, there is no citation.) Personally I'd remove it or rewrite it, but don't want to step on anyone's toes -- would the original author of this be willing to have another stab at it please? Kind regards,

This article is tagged as having problems, and I agree. Tweaking it bit by bit to be better seems like a bad solution to me, so I have decided to start a rewrite of the article at User:Bjwebb/Voluntaryism. Any help would be appreciated. --bjwebb (talk) 15:06, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

You don't have any sourced material in there. You can't take out reliably sourced information, which there is a lot of in there. (Each paragraph should have at least one source; so first three paragraphs should each have a reference from same source, assuming that info is in the source and not just WP:original research. You probably could cut down and summarize some things better. But wikipedia is about only putting in information you can source, not your own opinions, i.e. WP:original research. CarolMooreDC (talk) 21:50, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I'll work on fixing that.--bjwebb (talk) 11:18, 16 December 2008 (UTC)

Wrong category?[edit]

Shouldn't Voluntaryism be under the category "Anarchy" instead of "Libertarianism?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:47, 19 February 2010 (UTC)

none of the people mentioned are anarchists — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Leo Tolstoy was an anarchist[edit]

Leo Tolstoy was not "near anarchist" he was a christian pacifist anarchist. Gandhi can be described as 'near anarchist' because his philosophy was based on that of Tolstoy (so there is a corralation there). I am going to fix this error now. Beta M (talk) 05:14, 18 March 2010 (UTC)

Pure voluntaryism[edit]

The article says, "Herbert was not a pure voluntaryist because, although he held that it was possible for state revenues to be generated by offering competitive services on the free market, he continued to advocate a single monopolistic state for every given geographic territory." Don't all libertarians support monopolistic control over property? If you own a piece of land and have the power and authority to do whatever you want with it and set whatever rules you want to govern its use, without forcible interference from anyone else, then you are basically a state unto yourself. There is nothing "involuntary" about the situation, except inasmuch as others don't have freedom to "voluntarily" do as they wish with your property; they must obtain your voluntary consent first. Tisane (talk) 07:46, 30 April 2010 (UTC)

Recent changes[edit]

I'm glad "Mmeziere" has taken an interest in this page. S/he has no talk page, unfortunately. Also, they didn't use talk to defend recent edits (though claimed they did). Here's a summary of my take on recent changes to the article:

1) Point taken on how not all voluntaryists agree with NAP.

2) "As government is defined as a monopoly on the initiation of aggressive force and coercion in a given geographical region" No, it isn't defined that way. Furthermore, whether or not this is (substantively) true is highly controversial. Some (like Ayn Rand) support states without taxation. Is that coercion? Very debatable stuff. No, we can't state someone's opinion as fact. Byelf2007 (talk) 26 January 2011

I'm sorry, I meant to say the reasons were on your talk page, and because of point 1, I assume you have seen it.
In regards to point 2, I agree that it is not defined that way and can be reworded. Also, remember not to confuse voluntaryism with the NAP. While many voluntaryists use the NAP to support their philospohy, voluntaryist thinking does not require that you use the NAP as your ethical framework. Consider a utilitarian who thinks that the greatest good would be reached if all interactions were voluntary. Ayn Rand was not a voluntaryist and by definition voluntarism does not support states. As mentioned voluntaryists require all interactions to be voluntary. If a government does not impose taxes, impose laws, or exert any other kind of control, thus allowing all interactions to be voluntary, then it is not a government. If it is a minarchist government, it is not voluntary because people have no choice on whether or not to follow the governments laws, no matter how few there are. Thus the information in the opening was deleted unnecessarily. I will edit it back and make a few changes. Let me know what you think.
Also, I agree with the deletion of the two paragraphs in the overview section, as those are more about Austrian Economics, not voluntaryism.
Also, I think that the overview section and voluntaryism/anarchism section can be combined. It doesn't bother me having them separate, but what do you think?
mmeziere (talk) 20:53, 26 January 2012 (UTC)
Mmeziere, combining the anarchism section with an overview is fine, as long as they're integrated in a way that makes sense.
I strongly disagree, however, with your argument that voluntaryism is necessarily a type of anarchism and, therefore, that there cannot be pro-government voluntaryism.
First, you say "If it is a minarchist government, it is not voluntary because people have no choice on whether or not to follow the governments laws". This isn't true--people can choose not to follow the law if they don't want to follow the law. I assume you mean "They can't do X without force being used against them, therefore, it isn't voluntary". It depends on whether or not they agreed to be a part of the government. Yes, obviously every or 99.9999% of governments throughout history weren't voluntary. For example, I'm officially an American citizen, but I never signed the Constitution. Does this mean it's impossible that a group of people could all sign a constitution and not exert control over anyone else who didn't sign the contract? I don't see how that's necessarily the case.
Second, you seem to think that support for a society of only voluntary interactions means you have to therefore not "exert any kind of control". Consider this: Suppose in a stateless society some guy steals from me and I use force to get my property back. I am now no longer a voluntaryist (as you're presenting it) because the thief isn't going to voluntarily cede my property back to me and I'm now *exerting control* on him. You may object that I didn't voluntarily allow him to have my property and, therefore, I'm still a voluntaryist. This therefore means that exerting control is consistent with voluntaryism as long as it is a response to an initiation of force. Therefore, the relevant issue is determining what is an initiation of force.
And as far as I'm concerned, neither minarchy nor anarchy are inherent initiations of force because we're not taking into account the will of the people involved in any society. Yes, governments are always initiating force, but I don't see how the dictionary definition of government means government must necessarily be coercive. If minarchists get together and form a minarchist society where everyone agrees to a set of rules governing how the society will work, and this contract includes the formation of a government, then no one's rights are being violated because they've all voluntarily agreed to this form of social organization. By the same token, if anarchists get together and form a stateless society where everyone agrees to a set of rules governing how the society will work (which I guess would be an agreement not to have one set of rules enforced for all codes of conduct and only some, or perhaps some sort of "anything goes" contract), then no one's rights are being violated because they've all voluntarily agreed to this form of social organization.
Therefore, a voluntaryist is someone who wants to allow people to voluntarily determine how they will live, which necessarily includes allowing them to decide which societies they will join/form. This means that someone could be a minarchist who wants to allow anarchists to go form their own society in a different territory as long as they don't violate anyone's right to voluntary action. It also means a self-declared anarchist might attempt to use force to eliminate all power structures in various societies they think are bad, although I guess they wouldn't really be an anarchist, but a fascist operating under the pretense of anarchism. In other words, all anarchists are definitely voluntaryists, but I don't see how all voluntaryists are necessarily anarchists. If a minarchist allows anyone who doesn't sign onto their society's constitution to not be subject to their laws, then I don't see how they're not a voluntaryist.
You may object that someone can't sign away their rights. This is true ("voluntary slavery" is a contradiction), but if someone signs a contract that says "You agree to this constitution, which says laws will be enforced in these ways and will be changed by this manner, and you will abide by the decisions made, including that 20% of your income gets spend by these persons, etc, and if you want to leave, that's fine, as long as some other society will allow you to traverse their land", then that's a voluntary arrangement which is fundamentally no different that any voluntary business transaction, whether it occurs in the average society or anarcho-capitalist land. Do you think this makes sense? Byelf2007 (talk) 26 January 2011
1) If a group of people voluntarily enter into a contract with an organization to follow their laws, it is not a government, it is just a contract with an organization. A government has control over a geographical area and enforces its laws over everyone within their borders.
2) I never said anything or implied anything that indicates voluntarism does not support self defense or seeking restitution.
3) Same point I made in point #1.
4) A minarchist government still enforces laws over a geographic area. If I purchase property in that area, I would not be able to refuse that governments laws without them taking action against me. If they let me be, they are not a government. Also, all anarchists are not voluntarism, in fact most are not. You do not seem to understand what a stateless voluntary society would actually be like, but you keep making changes based on your false assumptions/conclusions about it.
5) Again, it seems like your whole argument is a misinterpretation of what government is. What makes a government a government is that it has a set geographical territory that it enforces its laws on. If it does not enforce it's laws on people that it did not enter into contracts with, it is not a government because it is not exerting control over a specific geographic area.
6) Lastly, this is not a discussion forum and I do not have the time to keep changing this wiki. Do what you want. I do not believe you are fairly representing what most voluntarists believe. Because of this, I think you should leave everything we had before at my last edit, but you can add in some sentences stating you do not think it requires statelessness. The fact is every voluntarist I know and the vast majority voluntarist communities online believe a stateless society is the only one that is in line with voluntarist thinking. Again, do what you want, I do not have the time for an edit war.
mmeziere (talk) 04:16, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
1) "If a group of people voluntarily enter into a contract with an organization to follow their laws, it is not a government, it is just a contract with an organization." How is this the case, *definitionally* speaking? Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control the use of force in a state at a given time as well as the means by which state policy is enforced, as well as the mechanism for determining the policy of the state. right? This tells us nothing about what the citizens of the state have to say about it. Your assertion is baseless.
2) You said: "If a government does not...exert any other kind of control...then it is not a government."
3) I didn't list a point 3, so I don't know what you're referring to.
4) "A minarchist government still enforces laws over a geographic area." So do private defense agencies, just their own. "If I purchase property in that area, I would not be able to refuse that governments laws without them taking action against me." Do you somehow inherently not have the option of not purchasing land there? "If they let me be, they are not a government." This is based on what other than your assertion? "You do not seem to understand what a stateless voluntary society would actually be like, but you keep making changes based on your false assumptions/conclusions about it." You mean insisting that we don't list assertions on this site without reliable sources? Our standards for listing opinions as fact go beyond the assertions of one person. It's your responsibility to demonstrate that what you're saying is true. How does the belief that all forms of human association should be voluntary preclude support for government? Is there a definition of government that says it's necessarily coercive? Can you demonstrate that its definition means it will necessarily be coercive with something other than assertions about how people would have the opportunity to agree to its laws (and nothing about how governments will definitionally subject people to its laws that they do not agree to)?
"Also, all anarchists are not voluntarism, in fact most are not." I'm curious why you think this is. It's my understanding that all anarchists profess a belief in not acting towards someone where the other person isn't afforded the opportunity to make voluntary decisions, but I might be wrong. Could you elaborate?
"What makes a government a government is that it has a set geographical territory that it enforces its laws on. If it does not enforce it's laws on people that it did not enter into contracts with, it is not a government because it is not exerting control over a specific geographic area." If it doesn't enforce it's laws on people that didn't enter into a contract with it? How is that necessarily a part of the "it has a set geographical territory that it enforces its laws on." This tells us nothing about what these laws are and who they're being enforced on. Is it impossible for people to decide and be able to NOT be subject to this state's laws? How so? You're just projecting what you think governments do onto the definition without explaining your position, unless you can find me reliable sources which claim that this is how governments definitionally work. We don't cite people's estimate of certain things on this site as definitional facts about them just because they are opinions held.
"this is not a discussion forum and I do not have the time to keep changing this wiki." It's not a discussion forum, yes. So what? Did I violate some rule by taking the time to object to an opinion of yours which I think is wrong concerning the contents of this page with reasoned arguments, challenging your argument that your assertions be treated as fact on this page without reliable sources? The burden is on you for inclusion. Voluntaryism is "is a philosophy according to which all forms of human association should be voluntary" because we have a reliable source for that. Do you have a reliable source that says that this logically necessarily entails support of anarchism and that it cannot include support of government for definitional issues? All your assertions preclude the possibility of arrangements which I've argued can possibly include no violation of anyone's decisions.
"Do what you want." I'm glad to hear this.
"I do not believe you are fairly representing what most voluntarists believe." I didn't say I was. I'm sure they disagree on many counts. I think I'm fairly representing what it necessarily means to be a voluntaryist. I'm just saying what I think a voluntaryist necessarily is because of its definition from a reliable source, and what we know about the definition of government from a reliable source. I haven't argued that it's impossible to be a voluntaryist and and anarchist or that it's impossible that a government be coercive because I see no reason for either of these to be true.
"I think you should leave everything we had before at my last edit" I'd rather not leave several paragraphs in the lede with no citations.
"you can add in some sentences stating you do not think it requires statelessness" I'm not sure that would be appropriate. It would get very tedious if we had "and by the way, this doesn't necessarily mean X" in the lede of every article, but it's good to have these types of sentences to address popular misconceptions, so this might be appropriate here, I'm not sure.
"The fact is every voluntarist I know and the vast majority voluntarist communities online believe a stateless society..." They could be wrong about what they believe. If 90% of chefs argue that cooking is the best thing in the world, I'm not going to insist it be listed as a fact on wikipedia. Byelf2007 (talk) 27 January 2011

sorry, added a comment here but decided to start a new section instead, as i just noticed how outdated this last thread was.

Claim that Voluntaryism is a form of anarcho-capitalism lacks a source[edit]

I imagine other economic systems could exist under a voluntaryist system, such as a group of voluntary collectivists. So, a citation number next to "anarcho-capitalism" in the opening line would be useful. --Coching (talk) 06:24, 16 November 2012 (UTC)

I completely agree.. this probably the largest issue with this article. (talk) 01:51, 3 July 2014 (UTC)

Article Overhaul[edit]

It's the first I've visited the Voluntaryism page in maybe a good year, and I have to say I'm quite disappointed that the page has undergone such a radical overhaul. I barely recognize the content of this page as it is today versus what it was and it doesnt appear in my mind to be an improvement. I assume the overhaul was due to the page now being under the 'scope' of WikiProject Libertarianism and WikiProject Philosophy and spearheaded by these groups. It seems the entire focus of the article has shifted from 'what is Voluntaryism' to 'what is the historical context for Voluntaryism' and I don't understand the reason for such emphasis. Certainly the historical context is an important aspect, but would it not be better to more thoroughly describe what Voluntaryism actually is, not merely where it came from and what it is 'in relation to'. I'm sorry I can't be more explicit, this is just a general impression, but if I had to try to explain Voluntaryism to someone I believe I would no longer point them to this article. In fact, the intro is in my mind a bit of a travesty, its so thin. It consists of a couple sentences that define voluntaryism in relation to other terms like anarcho-capitalism and then a few quotes on what "Rothbard maintained". Why is what Rothbard maintained somehow central to defining voluntaryism? Further, what is the basis for making the claim that "many voluntaryists base their thinking on" Rothbard's work. I for one have never read Rothbard as I'm sure many havn't. Its as if the reader were to assume that people who subscribe to voluntaryism base their thinking on the work of some founding principal in the way that Karl Marx was the progenitor of Marxism and that those who would call themselves Marxists are those that base their thinking on his ideas. It is just not so in this case, I hope you see my point. Why not reference Rothbard or others somewhere in the main body of the article instead. If you look back at some of the intros from different points in 2011, I think you'll see a much better job of describing what voluntaryism actually is, on its own terms. I understand some folks who have made the recent edits would probably object to 'going backward' to older revisions, so I'm not suggesting it needs to be a facsimile of a former version, but I would like to see the intro move closer to an incarnation of what those previous versions embodied, and perhaps all of the historical context and reference to people throughout history who may or may not have practiced or wrote something about voluntaryism be one subsection with equal attention being paid to other subsections. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:37, 18 November 2012 (UTC)

Unsubstantiated Claims Over Who is a Voluntaryist, or: "We're All Voluntarists now"[edit]

The article claims Murray Rothbard and other such people were voluntarists. It gives no citations of them claiming to adopt the philosophy, and assumes that since voluntaryism is in a sense "anarcho-captialist," that prominiate ancaps such as Rothbard must therefore be voluntarists.

This is an invalid assumption and shows poor reasoning, but anarcho-capitalists actually do support some involuntary actions. Rothbard wrote in regard to payments of debt, that "[t]the ideal situation, then, puts the criminal frankly into a state of enslavement to his victim, the criminal continuing in that condition of just slavery until he has redressed the grievance of the man he has wronged."[2] The requirement of the indebted in that case is cleary one which is involuntary.

In summary, the article presumes that people who have voluntarist-like beliefs are indeed voluntarist, even when they have made no claim to be so and hold beliefs counter to voluntarism.

Ayn Rand[edit]

Ayn Rand did not espouse Voluntaryism. She was very much Pro-coercion. This is even shown by the quote given in the page. Under Voluntaryism, violence is ALWAYS wrong, not just when self-interest dictates that it is or is not. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:57, 26 August 2013 (UTC)


The bit about the Levellers seems like original research. It's good and well to cite the history of the Levellers, but I'm not sure source 10 connects the Levellers to the modern voluntaryist movement, which is what we need to cite them as precursors. Anarchists, Marxists, a-caps, and other radical groups all claim the Levellers as proto-types of their own movements, so we need a RS that makes an explicit connection between them and the modern movement. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AttackTheRivers (talkcontribs) 05:26, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

Who I am and major article rework I would like to see.[edit]

Hey all, my name is Stephen Packard ( I like to describe myself as a Voluntaryist activist, enthusiast, and entrepreneur in Omaha, Nebraska. Although I have no extensive school education in philosophy or politics, I have been deeply involved in many discussions and projects to create awareness and dialogue throughout my life. I have been an active and donating member of for three years and have connections with many activists in what I perceive to be the Voluntaryism and Libertarian movements. I run Flat River Freedom Media at and

This article is important to me - it's the top Google result any time someone types in "Voluntaryism" and so, I assume, the most widely-read introduction to the topic. I'm also a regular Wikipedia donor, so I have some small expense of a stake in Wikipedia's performance. However, this article, in my experience defining and discussing "Voluntaryism", has some serious biases and deficiencies - if I was given the authority I would want to completely reconstruct the article into something that I will describe in the rest of the post. To that end, I'll quote how I think the article could receive more merit and legitimacy, and then critique how it currently reads.

My recommendation for the Introductory (Top) Paragraph:

"Voluntaryism is a term used to describe a set of principles that argue all forms of human association should be voluntary. Although no definitive reference nor authority on Voluntaryism exists, proponents of Voluntaryism agree that arguments for voluntary interaction have been evident and conclusive throughout human history.

Voluntaryist thought has appeared to have been brought to light most recently by modern Libertarian and Anarcho-Capitalist thinkers such as Murray Rothbard, Stefan Molyneux, Ron Paul, Robert LeFerve, and Henry Hazlitt, each reflecting somewhat divergent views on origins and conclusions of Voluntaryism, but generally agreeing on important methods and observations."

I think that is how the introductory paragraph should read. Here is how the introductory paragraph reads now and I will dissect my problems with it sentence by sentence:

"Voluntaryism (or sometimes voluntarism), is a libertarian philosophy which holds that all forms of human association should be voluntary."

I'm not sure the "libertarian philosophy" part applies. Stefan Molyneux, a hugely credible and arguably popular proponent of voluntary behaviors at, argues there is no such thing as x, y, or z philosophy - Stefan argues there is only "good philosophy" and "bad philosophy", with which I whole-heartedly agree. For example, some hold Russia's lack of civil liberties as a viable "political philosophy". However, if you have any sense of ethics or empathy, clearly it should not be considered wise to demonstrate that gay activists being horse-whipped in public is a wise action - this would be "bad philosophy". To say that "Russian political philosophy" or "libertarian philosophy" or "geocentristic philosophy" has any merit as a description, I think is disingenuous and we should hold ourselves to a higher starndard.

"The principle most frequently used to support voluntaryism is the non-aggression principle (NAP). It is closely associated with, and often used synonymously with, the anarcho-capitalist philosophy."

I have so many problems with this part. Let's begin:

There is a phrase in here: " support voluntaryism...". What about the concept of Voluntaryism needs or should be supported? Partly, I want to make that argument Voluntaryism is really a concept arguing for a specific type or kind of behavior. Do emotional responses need support? Nope. Should they be supported? If they are voluntary emotional responses, then yes. Henry Hazlitt and Stefan Molyneux both argue this point about Voluntaryism often - it should be recognized. As a logical structure, this phrase is sound, but as much as we may want the knowledge, even stored with Wikipedia, to be purely logical, emotions will largely play a role until humans can tame them at some future point.

Non-aggression principle is important, but even the worth and definition of the NAP is still being debated in many Libertarian and Voluntaryist circles. Also, Molyneux's Universally Preferable Behavior model may be an even better explanation of the principle(s) on which Voluntaryism works. I'd like to see "Principles of Voluntaryism" moved to a separate section below from the introductory paragraph.

And another "philosophy" mentioned here, "anarcho-capitalist philosophy". Every type of philosophy, "Libertarian philosophy", "Anarcho-Capitalist philosophy", "Anarcho-Communist philosophy" is going to have their *own* take on what "Voluntarysim" means to their label. It becomes redundant and complicated. Philosophy, by the Molyneux definition of which I am a strong proponent, *should not* be accompanied by a label other than "good" or "bad". Let's drop the labels or move them to their own section so each "philosophy" may have its own take on Voluntaryism, if that is what the label proponents wish.

And final part of introductory:

"Many voluntaryists base their thinking on the ideas of voluntaryist philosophers Murray Rothbard and Robert LeFevre. Rothbard maintained, first, that every government "presumes to establish a compulsory monopoly of defense (police and courts) service over some geographical area. So that individual property owners who prefer to subscribe to another defense company within that area are not allowed to do so"; and, second, that every government obtains its income by extortion, euphemistically labeled "taxation". "All governments, however limited they may be otherwise, commit at least these two fundamental crimes against liberty and property."[3]"

Yes, Rothbard contributed much to Voluntaryist thinking and I had not even heard of LeFevre until I read this entry, but Rothbard is not the only one and many Voluntaryists/Anarcho-Capitalists/Libertarians, etc. have serious issues with the last part of Rothbard's career. Again, Rothbard had a take which was different from LeFevre's take which was different Hazlitt's which is different from Molyneux's - let's move all of this below where each thinker may have their own section.

As I look at the clock I'm realizing how much time this may take to change this entry. So, I'll give a brief idea of how I see the rest of the article going and hope to continue discussion of soon changing this article. Some content structure ideas:

1. Short History

2. Principles

  -Universally Preferable Behavior

3. Thinkers

  -Murray Rothbard
  -Stefan Molyneux
  -Robert LeFevre
  -Henry Hazlitt

4. Voluntaryism in Philosophy

  -Libertarian philosophy
  -Anarcho-Capitalist philosophy
  -Anarcho-Communist philosophy
  -Molyneux's "Good philosophy" vs. "Bad philosophy" argument

The external links could have *far* more reach, as well. I suppose that's all for now. I hope anyone interested in this entry will comment - I think I have made some great points and we should start changing the entry as soon as possible. Thanks for now!

Spackard85 (talk) 15:24, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Spackard85 (talkcontribs) 15:17, 5 June 2014 (UTC) 
Spackard85, I applaud your intent of improving the article. The biggest challenge you will face (as any editor, especially in this area) is to come up with a robust list of reliable sources literally for each statement you made above. I would recommend updating the prose of the article by inserting individual sentences and paragraphs once you support them with sources. I am sure you will get plenty of support and / or criticism for each update. Best of luck.--TRUTHER2012 14:46, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Truther, thanks for your input. I am beginning today. I would love to hear from the editor of this page. Spackard85 (talk) 13:38, 6 July 2014 (UTC)

Auberon Herbert, Radicals for Capitalism, and this article[edit]

Back in 2007, this article looked something like this.  Now, might there have been problems with that?  Sure.  But, it clearly pointed out that voluntaryism was first advocated by Auberon Herbert, and cited Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement by Brian Doherty.  Today, it does not cite Radicals for Capitalism at all.  For that matter, it barely even mentions Auberon Herbert.  I find this regrettable.  I encourage editors to re-integrate Voluntaryism's founder into the article.  Sincerely, allixpeeke (talk) 08:18, 8 March 2015 (UTC)


This article places a ridiculous amount of undue weight on the walled-garden that is modern Libertarianism, eg: Rothbard. Voluntaryism has a long history, as the body of the article makes clear (although poorly sourced). Emphasising Rothbard et al in the lead is completely unjustified, as indeed is the prominence of the NAP section. Basically, a historic movement has been hijacked by Libertarian Wikipedians. It needs to stop. - Sitush (talk) 10:10, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

To emphasise this, voluntaryism and voluntary used in that context are not merely modern-day terms, nor is it merely a modern-day theory. See, for example, this. I know we touch on the issue in the history sections but the article is heavy on pushing the likes of Rothbard, who are notoriously divisive and fringe-y pseudo-heroes whose alleged influence gets far too much of an airing here on Wikipedia. Outside of the Libertarian debate, and outside the US, these people are very esoteric, very niche characters and their influence is not as apparent as US-based Libertarians seem to believe. Mainstream groups such as the UK Conservative Party are as much theoretical supporters of non-intervention and "small government" as people such as Rothbard. - Sitush (talk) 10:32, 24 May 2015 (UTC)

Voluntaryism as a school of Libertarianism[edit]

As Voluntaryism is, in fact, a school of the modern Libertarian movement, its roots as such are central to the content of the article, and the article should be written in its modern context. While history of the movement can be kept in its own category. I've reverted some changes in order to preserve the Libertarian context, as Voluntaryism is a school of modern Libertarianism. - Notafed (talk) 10:36, 12 October 2015 (UTC)

I am reverting you per the explanation in the section immediately preceding this one. Let's not have another Libertarian edit war, driven by ideologues etc. - Sitush (talk) 16:10, 12 October 2015 (UTC)
To not have even one mention in the entire article of the NAP or Rothbard makes no sense at all. Arguing that too much emphasis was placed on them is one thing; removing them completely is another thing entirely. You removed too much. Jon.jbm (talk) 07:30, 22 October 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps I did remove too much. You are welcome to debate what might be appropriate to include. That said, it is well known that libertarian writers such as Rothbard are effectively walled gardens on Wikipedia. We need to break down the cycle of one source being supported by another source etc in a manner that creates a self-supporting/self-justifying agenda. Wikipedia is not the place to pursue ideological warfare and there is no doubt that voluntaryism existed long before the Austrian Economics school.
I can't recall whether or not AE is under specific sanctions but it certainly was discussed and it has certainly led to some contributors being blocked. - Sitush (talk) 00:10, 24 November 2015 (UTC)